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Hey friend. Is there something bothering you? Anything at all? Any negative thoughts chattering away in your head that won’t seem to shut up?
If there is, I encourage you to stick around for this post. Hopefully it’ll help you.
To start, I know I for sure have these nagging problems every now and again. We all do, and it’s an inevitable part of life. Regardless of how much we try to push them to the back of our minds, our problems are still going to be there. Always. And the sad thing about it is that we can’t ever completely eliminate everything in our lives that causes these roadblocks. That’s just insane! In the world that we live in today, with so many things going on around us and countless factors that are out of our own control, how could we even come close to doing this? Not to be the bringer of bad news, but it’s true. In general, problems are unavoidable.
But don’t worry, it’s not just one big hopeless cause! We still have some level of control over the things that bother us and how we let these things affect our lives.
Countless times I’ve caught other people, as well as myself, excessively focusing on a problem at hand and giving it more attention than it realistically deserves. I’d like to think that this is more of an unconscious reaction done when we first encounter a problem; obviously we aren’t going to start frolicking through a field of flowers or riding off into the sunset when we find out that we lost $40 or that the surprise test is tomorrow.
So when it comes down to it, it’s these initial reactions that we need to try to change. If the first opinion we form over a problem is overwhelmingly negative, then we’re going to have a much greater difficulty dealing with it in the near and not-so-near future. We might even begin to feel that the problem is SO large that we might not ever be able to over come it! How is this ever going to help us? How will we progress with these maladaptive reactions that we all do at one point or another?
Now, think about a mental roadblock that you are currently faced with in your life. One that has recently bothered you. Is it the stress of an upcoming test? Or maybe a rude comment that someone said to you the other day? Whatever it is, recall it, and all of the negative feelings associated with it.
Take a moment to look at the big picture. Will this particular problem affect you in a week from now? A month? Or five years from now? Asking yourself this can help with really putting something into proportion. Like I said, we tend to give our problems far more attention then they require, so putting things into proper perspective is important so we can evaluate how much of our thoughts we should really be dedicating to it.
Can you work towards overcoming the problem? If so, how?
I’m not going to say that every problem can directly be fixed, but we CAN work towards psychologically dealing with it. Think about how you can work towards overcoming it, and some other steps that might be required after that. You’re very smart, so this is basically just common sense.
What new skills can you gain?
This is one that not everyone tends to consider when they are faced with a challenge. But the saying is true that "what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger"’ because it really does! Through every problem that we over come, there is always some level of personal gain; if it’s a new skill, a new experience, or an appreciation for something that was not there before.
Now that your problem has been entirely exposed and stripped of all of its surrounding negativity, it shouldn’t have as much overwhelming power over you. After all, you’re capable enough, strong enough, and intelligent enough to overcome ANY problem that comes and slaps you in the face. But it’s your choice to decide whether to start crying about it or to slap it right back.
It’s because of some of these reasons that you could be thankful for your problems. Think of them like positive challenges that life decided to throw at you to test your strength. Either you easily overcame them, or you got through them with more difficulty, but came out in the end with more personal gain. Without these little challenges, you would not even be close the well rounded, balanced, and successful person that you are today. Isn’t that strange? It’s the challenges that you’ve overcome that’s shaped you into who you are. Who would you be if you hadn’t been presented with such tests?
Each challenge is also a new learning curve. Every time you overcome one, you’re putting on another piece of armour to protect you against future challenges. You’re becoming more equipped and prepared for future "tests." So, give yourself a pat on the back! Next time, if you notice it or not, you’ll be able to respond better to similar situations. It’s a lot like becoming immune to a certain cold. The first time you get it, you’ll full out feel all of its symptoms, but each time you recover from it, you’ll gain increased immunity towards it.
Last but not least, through the pain and distress that these challenges cause us, the scars and the burns that we often walk out with, we develop a new sensitivity to the world around us. We are better attuned to and able to notice the positivity that is present in everything. Something subtle you might have disregarded before, like the sweet smell of roses during your normal route, or the smile that your neighbour always gives you; they become more noticeable. And this really is a beautiful thing because it takes a hard battle in order to realize the victory that we’ve had all along. I wish that there was an easier alternative to come to this realization; but there really isn’t. We each have to go through the ups and downs of this process in our own way.
But next time you’re presented with a problem, think about it as an opportunity to develop into a fuller person.
Every single challenge you overcome, you’re getting that much closer.
One less battle to check off of the list.
One more piece of armour to add to your protection.
One more level of genuine love and appreciation for all of those beautiful things in your life.
Please take care of yourself,